Progress Toward the Establishment of Marine Protected Areas in the Rapidly Changing Western Antarctic Peninsula

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The Western Antarctic Peninsula region is one of the fastest warming areas in the world. The waters surrounding the Peninsula and associated islandshost a large biodiversity and are one of the most important areas for Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) in the Southern Ocean. The large concentration of krill in this region supports large breeding populations of penguins, seals and whales. Some evidence, however,showsdecreases in krill populationsdue to the reduction in the duration of sea ice caused by climate change, and regional populations of chinstrap and Adélie penguins are also in decline. In addition, krill catches in this area, where the krill fishery concentrates,are the highest they have been in almost two decades. Argentina and Chile are leading the process to establish a CCAMLR Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the region. Backed by a series of international data gathering and technical workshops in which CCAMLR members agreed to conservation objectives for the region, these leading countries are preparing a series of MPA scenarios for the region, likely to be presented to CCAMLR in 2017.

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